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5/5/2014 - Boko Haram Leader Admits to Mass Kidnapping in Nigeria, Declares Intent to Sell Girls
The alleged leader of militant insurgency group Boko Haram admitted in a new video obtained by Agence France-Presse to kidnapping over 200 Nigerian girls on April 14 - and also declared his intentions to sell them "on the market." "I abducted your girls," Abubakar Shekau is quoted by CNN's translators as declaring in the 57-minute video....

5/2/2014 - Nigerians Demand More Rescue Efforts for 200 Kidnapped Girls
Nigerians are demanding that their government do more to bring home the roughly 200 girls who were kidnapped more than two weeks ago on April 14 by the militant insurgency group Boko Haram. Protesters took to the streets of Abuja and Lagos this week to criticize the Nigerian government's handling of the mass kidnapping....

5/1/2014 - Brutal Brunei Penal Code Goes into Effect Today
The Southeast Asian nation of Brunei today adopted the first phase of a brutal penal code that includes the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians, the public flogging of women who have abortions, and the jailing of women who become pregnant outside of marriage. The laws will be introduced in three phases over the course of three years....

4/30/2014 - FMF Pulls Event from Beverly Hills Hotel to Protest Sultan of Brunei Imposing Taliban-Like Rule
LOS ANGELES - The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) announced it is pulling its annual Global Women's Rights Awards, co-chaired by Jay and Mavis Leno, from the Beverly Hills Hotel because the hotel's owner, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is imposing a Taliban-like Brunei penal code, set to go into effect in three stages beginning on May 1, that includes the stoning to death of gay men and lesbians and the public flogging of women who have abortions. Instead of holding its annual event at the hotel on May 5, FMF has joined with gay and lesbian groups in protesting this gross violation of human rights and will hold a rally at noon on May 5 across from the hotel, in the park on Sunset Boulevard, urging the Sultan to rescind the new penal code which has been condemned by human rights groups and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights....

4/28/2014 - Afghan Election May be Headed for Runoff
Preliminary results for Afghanistan's recent presidential election were released on Saturday, showing that former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah and former Finance Minister and World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai are the top contenders. The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced that Abdullah Abdullah, who lost the election in 2009 to outgoing president Hamid Karzai, won 44.9 percent of the vote....

4/25/2014 - On 1st Anniversary of Rana Plaza Collapse, Need for More Change
Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh that caused the deaths and injuries of thousands of people. The poorly built nine-story building that collapsed last April near the capital of Dhaka housed five garment factories and a shopping center....

4/25/2014 - Cuba Faces Condom Shortage
A current condom shortage in Cuba is stirring fears of higher STD rates and unplanned pregnancies. Pharmacies in Cuba's central province of Villa Clara began running out of condoms in March, and the suburbs of Havana are now affected as well....

4/22/2014 - US Ranks 16th in 2014 Social Progress Index
The Social Progress Imperative recently released its 2014 Social Progress Index, ranking the United States in 16th place among 132 countries. Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, a Republican who led the report team, told CNN's Fareed Zakaria that he was surprised by the ranking....

4/17/2014 - Supreme Court of India Recognizes Transgender Rights
India's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that official documents must allow transgender people to identify as a third gender and directed the federal and state governments to include transgender people, known as hijras, in welfare programs such as education, health care, and job programs. "All documents will now have a third category marked 'transgender,'" said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender activist who petitioned the court....

4/16/2014 - Female Afghan Parliamentarian Injured in Shooting Attack
Maryam Koofi, a member of Afghanistan's Parliament, was wounded in a shooting yesterday....

4/11/2014 - Philippines Supreme Court Upholds Law Promoting Reproductive Health Access
The Philippines Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the country's Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act, also known as the RH Law, is constitutional....

4/7/2014 - Millions of Afghans Vote in Historic Elections
High turnout, low levels of violence, and strong participation by women, all combined Saturday to make the closely watched Afghan presidential and provincial council elections a success. Over 7 million Afghan men and women voted in these historic elections - representing a staggering 60% voter participation rate, close to the 62% participation rate in the US presidential election in 2008 and more than the 58% participation rate in the US in 2012....

4/4/2014 - Afghanistan Heads to the Polls Tomorrow
Afghanistan will hold presidential and provincial council elections tomorrow....

4/2/2014 - Report Details Dangerous Impacts of Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report last week detailing the risks people will face around the world as climate change worsens. "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability" from Working Group II of the IPCC summarizes scientific literature from hundreds of authors to identify vulnerable populations, ecosystems, and industries....

3/21/2014 - 13,000 Women Will Work to Secure Polling Centers on Afghanistan's Election Day
The Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs (MoIA) announced this week that it has recruited 13,000 women to work on security procedures at polling centers for the upcoming April 5 presidential election day....

3/13/2014 - House Democrats Seek International Convention on Gender-Based Violence In Workplace
House Democrats asked the Obama administration yesterday to support the International Labour Organization's (ILO) efforts to combat global gender-based violence in the workplace. Ahead of the ILO's 320th Session of the Governing Board, Representatives George Miller (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and 34 other leading Democrats sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez seeking their support for an ILO Convention on gender-based violence in the workplace, as well as a standard-setting discussion about violence against all people in the workplace. "Gender-based violence is among the most rampant human rights violations in the world--and it most acutely affects women," said Rep....

3/11/2014 - UN Commission On The Status of Women Convenes This Week
The 58th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) session began in New York City yesterday and will convene through March 21....

3/6/2014 - US Honors Afghan Doctor as an International Woman of Courage
Dr....

3/5/2014 - Saudi Women Demand End To Absolute Male Authority
Ten Saudi women are petitioning the Saudi Arabia consultative Shura Council to demand an end to absolute male authority over women. Activist Aziza Yousef told AFP news agency over the weekend that the activists are demanding "measures to protect women's rights," as well as the right for women to drive, ahead of International Women's Day on March 8....

2/28/2014 - Female Afghan Parliamentarian Speaks Out About Women's Progress in Afghanistan
Fawzia Koofi, a female member of the Afghan parliament, published an open letter this week to American women, urging them to continue standing shoulder-to-shoulder with women in Afghanistan. Koofi's letter, entitled "A Letter to My American Sisters," dispels the media myth that women's lives have not improved since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001....

2/26/2014 - Libya To Compensate Victims of Rape During 2011 Conflict
Libya's cabinet introduced a decree last week that will recognize women raped during the 2011 uprising as war victims and provide them with compensation....

2/26/2014 - Afghan Ministry of Justice Amends Criminal Procedure Code to Protect Women Victims of Violence
Afghanistan's Ministry of Justice (MOJ) amended a controversial provision of the draft Afghan Criminal Procedure Code - Article 26 - that would have barred relatives from testifying against each other in criminal proceedings, including in cases of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault....

2/25/2014 - Ugandan President Signs Anti-Gay Bill Into Law
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial anti-gay bill into law yesterday. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, passed by parliament in December, could put people in prison for life if they engage in "aggravated homosexuality," which means engaging in acts where someone is infected with HIV, having sex with minors, or being "serial offenders." People who offer services to LGBTQ people, such as human rights groups, could also face criminal charges and years in prison. In response, Norway and Denmark have already cut off aid to the Ugandan government, and Sweden and the US are considering a similar response....

2/24/2014 - Bolivian Court Relaxes Requirements for Women Seeking Abortion
Bolivia's highest court issued a decision last week to remove the requirement that women must obtain judicial authorization in order to have a legal abortion. Bolivia's constitution guarantees equal treatment to all citizens, including women and indigenous peoples....

2/21/2014 - Free Maternal and Childcare Center Commissioned in Nigeria
The government of Nigeria's Delta State commissioned a 100-bed maternal and childcare center at the Warri Central Hospital last week....